Content. That is the word I’d use to describe my current condition. Surrounded by a warm substance, fed what I want at my slightest whim, surrounded on all sides by cushioned walls. Some would probably call where I am a prison; I call it paradise. Compared to the rest of my life, feeling safe and secure is more than just a bonus, it’s a delicacy I never thought to consume.
A comforting female voice was my constant companion, whispering to me and planting her warm, loving hand on my head. Less common was a deeper rasp, but no less loving. Surprising in this ball of darkness, where sound was muffled and warped. Sometimes they read me books; random passages from an assortment of pages that literally made no sense to me, but I devoured their stories like a thirsty man in the desert. Man? That seemed odd to say, even in my mind. Am I a man? I’m honestly unsure these days. In my now almost-opaque memory cache, I see a male face that I think is mine, but also seems as though observed by an outsider. Feeling a sudden sense of unease, I begin to struggle. My earlier feeling of euphoria is transformed into a panicked maelstrom of kicking limbs, although the walls I kicked were soft. I try to scream, but an unseen force stops me from making a sound. In came the cooing voice with the soft hands, attempting to calm my bout of nerves with words of love.
“It’s okay baby, it won’t be long now.”
Although the words should probably register a fear in me, they instantly soothe my thrashing, as they always do. Giving one last disgruntled kick, I let my terror subside, realising the place I am in is still the same, that nothing can hurt me. At least that’s what the voice says, and for some reason I trust her more than anything else in the world; though I can’t put the voice to a face. I just know that she looks after me, somehow. As her divine comments left my ears, I fell back in to my tranquil space, at peace again.
My thoughts wandered once more, daydreaming to the point that I almost didn’t notice the slight breath of air atop my head, then a lessening of the snug mass surrounding me. That was until I started to slip down the tiny hole that the breeze was coming from, compressing my head until it felt like it would burst with the pressure. Then the hole grew, and I began to slide more, a dim light starting to show at the end of my vision – the first thing I'd seen with my eyes in what felt like an eternity. Every comment you ever hear in your life always mentions a bright light when you die, and that you should go towards it. Why then was every fibre of my being shouting at me to get away?
I could hear different voices now, in the same encouraging tone as the goddess, though alien to me. That goddess was beginning to moan as if in pain, and all I could think about was helping her. The male voice broke through the commotion, again in the encouraging tone, again not aimed towards me. This was new, and I listened with interest at my two saviours, my horror taking a back seat as I struggled to understand the words that came out. A fuzzy feeling clouded my mind as I did, the meanings of the sounds that came out of the people around me suddenly eluding me. It was all just noise, a language that I couldn’t understand anymore, memories of the dialect being totally erased as I tried my utmost to grasp them.
The moaning got louder, and I let the memories go, concern lancing through to my core. Who was hurting the owner of the voice? I wanted nothing more than to help her, and as the light grew, I realised her voice was louder too. Somehow knowing now that this was the way I needed to go, I began to push my way towards it, those cushioned walls contracting, seeming eager to help me along. White light became flashes of movement, and excitement reared its head at finally being free. Until I saw the thing that was moving.
It was wrapped in something white, with splotches of red decorating the material at random intervals. Blue hands were what I registered next, the contrast in colour making it obvious to my tender eyes. A mask covered the bottom half of its face, and its dark eyes were staring right at me, those shockingly blue palms reaching out towards my face. I knew I was its target, but there was nothing I could do. Maybe I would buy the voice more time? The thought still didn’t stop me trying to scream, the sound being absorbed into those walls once more. Then, in an explosive push from behind, I was thrown out into those waiting hands, my scream ripping free as I escaped. Saving the voice was sent to the back of the queue as I was roughly manhandled on to a soft surface and wrapped up again, the familiar feeling of being constricted actually comforting me in that moment, though I continued to shriek and wail my defiance.
Gentle this time, I was lifted off whatever they had put me on, though I felt something I vaguely remembered from before, accompanied by a confirming sound: The deeper, raspy voice, with its consoling hands. Beaming face never taking his eyes off me, the man that the voice belonged to rocked me slowly in my cocoon, and I began to feel that same content feeling that had felt so far away just moments ago. But it wasn’t completely serene until I was passed to one final place, the one that I had inadvertently been waiting for. Those delicate, soft hands took my captured form off the man, and the joyous cooing of the goddess began to fall upon my ears. Eyes bleary now, tiredness about to take me, I forced myself to take a look at what I'd only ever dreamed I would. It was a woman, blonde hair plastered to a sweaty face, bright green eyes locking on to mine with only adoration lurking there; a tired smile lighting up her face, making it more radiant than I'd thought anything could be. She was beautiful, this goddess of mine. Just before my body drifted in to its slumber, I heard words clearer than I'd ever heard before, from the same mouth that had kept me safe all these months, without me asking.
"Hello little one, it's nice to finally meet you."